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The Conference Board China Economy Watch: Continued recovery in April comes with continued concerns
May 2020 | China Center Publications
April data show gradual and continuing recovery overall, and show a robust rebound in industrial production where state policy tools play a big role. But so far, the demand recovery is disappointing, especially given the high expectations for pent-up purchasing in this post-lock down period. (China’s lockdown was massive – see: “local mobility controls”.) Thankfully, secondary outbreaks appear to be contained for now, and confidence regarding public safety appears to be improving. However, the short-term economic outlook remains dismal. The “double whammy” of global economic weakness on China’s export sector, plus severe domestic labor market weakness, will not be easy to remedy by policy makers, certainly not in any quick way. Members should expect a prolonged period of slow topline growth – a U-shaped recovery per se. The 13th NPC revealed some details regarding forthcoming stimulus measures; but, as we anticipated, the program is smaller than markets expected. We expect the government to be comparatively frugal with its stimulus measures, both to preserve limited fiscal resources and to prevent funds from flowing into financial assets a la 2008-2010.